Saturday, December 10, 2016
Organizing Our LLI Kits
After taking the time to put the labels on the file folders and the books in the folders I needed something to organize the books. They certainly weren't going to fit back in the 3 boxes they came in. I hunted around my school and took bins from somewhere else that weren't really needed (yes, I "acquired" them). The books were put on shelves that were easy to reach, easily accessible, and easily refiled. The Green System fit in 9 bins and the Blue System fit in 12 bins.
This is the perfect time to talk about the lesson that go along with each book. I'm a note-taker or doodler. I wanted to be able to write on the lesson plans and add notes with vocabulary or strategy that may not be listed, so the next time I used it, I'd remember. I couldn't exactly write it in the spiral book AND I wasn't the only one using the kit, so I couldn't keep the lesson book with me at all times. I tried to copy the lessons I needed and quickly discovered this was a terrible waste of time. I carefully "unspiraled" the spiral editions with the lessons and decided to run it through the feeder part of our copy machine. I'd have a copy of all the lessons, ready to go. It sounds easy, but the "shiny" paper in the lesson book made it a chore, but it was worth it. When the lessons were all copied I re-spiraled the book (yes, I did). I took each lesson, put it in a sheet protector and filed it in the file folder. **TIP: I also labeled the sheet protector with permanent marker with the lesson and the level because the sheet protector covered the file folder label. In the picture above, you can see the binder with a master copy of the lessons, that way if someone needs a new copy, it's easy to access. I write all over the lessons, highlight the language I want to use, and it's all in one place.
I also needed to figure out where to put all the student's materials...because there seems to be a lot of student materials. I bought a couple of 3 drawer bins because each group would have 3, right? I like this, but then I had to take a group bigger than 3. The drawers have their writing books, the student readers, a pencil, a highlighter, and boxes for word cards (that's coming in a minute). Everything is in the drawer they need, then I don't have pass out anything. The only problem with this storage idea is the room the drawer takes up on the table when we're working, so you have to decided exactly where the drawer will be. We put the drawer on the empty seat between them. I also added a group without much warning and I didn't have another 3 drawer organizer, so I decided to use plastic magazine boxes. Their writing book, student readers, and word card boxes are kept in the boxes. I have separate pencil holders that contain a pencil, highlighter, scissors and a pen (for editing). I pass those boxes out at the beginning of our group. When the students come into the class, they take their drawer or box to the table, pull out their word bank box and I set the timer for one minute for a speed read.
I also needed a way to organize lots of groups. I found the 31 file boxes fit the LLI kits the best. The file box can store 5 lessons at a time, perfect for a week of lessons. I have also used individual file sorters. A fantastic special education teacher in our building is using a file cart for her group storage. She hangs the files she needs on the top and then using the drawers at the bottom for the writing books, word boxes, or other materials.
Finally, this is my favorite storage tip. A little background: I hate word banks in ziploc bags. They get lost in the books or in the drawers, they get mangled and crunched, or they are too easy to get lost all together. My first plan was travel soap boxes, but I needed 50 of them. I needed a more cost effective solution, so I went to the best place for brainstorming: Dollar Tree. I found these "snack boxes" that were the same size as soap containers, and they were typically 2 for $1. However, they had a "special" set that were 3 for $1. BINGO! The only problem was they only had 2 sets: 6 total. Did I mention I needed 50. When you have been a teacher for 28 years and married to the same man for the last 25 years, he isn't really surprised when you say you need to go on a road trip to as many Dollar Tree stores as possible...he just drives. I found 50 boxes at 3 for $1. Score on the boxes and the husband. ANYWAY, I love these boxes. They are easy to find, keep the words organized and are user friendly.
Finally, I use a 3 inch binder for most of my groups lesson plans. Each group has a divider with all the lesson plans and a separate tab for each student. Behind the group tab, I have the lesson plans with the current week on the top. I made up a lesson plan skeleton sheet that includes 5 days per sheet with Even and Odd alternating days. I plan 5 days in advance, but I don't date them until I pull that group. (I'm sad to say I get pulled for meetings or testing and I my lesson plans had too many arrows and forwards. Behind the student tab, I file their plot sheet and all their running records.
I hope these ideas will help keep you organized. The program is awesome and I don't want the frustration of "too many materials" to make you shy away from it.
If you would like a PDF of my lesson skeleton, CLICK HERE or click the image below. It's not perfect, so if there is anything you think I should change or add, I'm up for suggestions.
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